DVD Review: Frankie & Alice

In 2010, there was a plethora of riches when it came to talent in the Best Actress category. One of the names that was tossed about as being award worthy was Halle Berry for Frankie & Alice. While it didn’t pick up any significant hardware because it wasn’t all that good of a film, it’s noteworthy for being a brilliant performance from Berry in an otherwise forgettable film.

Frankie (Berry) is a go-go dancer in the ’70s who has multiple personality disorder. Alice, one of her personalities, is a racist Southern woman. A seven year old named Genius is inside her mind, as well. With the help of a psychotherapist (Stellan Skarsgård), Frankie’s task in life is try and keep her other personalities from surfacing.

The film itself got a qualifying run for awards purposes four years ago, and a limited theatrical release earlier this year, but couldn’t find a niche in either the commercial or critical areas. Films about mental illness traditionally don’t find traction in the marketplace and a film four years removed from the brief attempt at garnering Berry some awards isn’t likely to catch fire at the box office. Frankie & Alice finding its way into theatres was a byproduct of not wanting the direct-to-DVD label. As such it didn’t last long and now comes to DVD as yet another high profile, A-list talent unable to get a decent release for a high profile project.

Berry is exceptional in it, and one can see why it was targeted as a prestige picture and not for any commercial sensibilities. This is strictly a by-the-books look at someone with profound mental illness that’s only watchable because of its star. This is a fairly perfunctory film, nothing more, that’s slightly elevated because Berry is exceptional in it. It’s worth a quick rental for her performance but this isn’t something you necessarily have to have in your collection.

A generic making of piece is the DVD’s only extra.

Lionsgate presents Frankie & Alice . Directed by Geoffrey Sax. Written by Cheryl Edwards, Mako King, Mary King, Jonathan Waters, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse. Starring Halle Berry, Stellan Skarsgard. Running time: 101 minutes. Rated R. Released: August 12, 2014.